WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Dark Nights: METAL #5
Martian Manhunter has finally returned to DC's Rebirth comic universe. It's been a long wait for fans of J'onn J'onzz, made all the harder to endure by the Martian superhero's role on The CW's Supergirl. But after the hero's solo comic titles were all concluded, and his role as a founding member of the Justice League given to Cyborg in the New 52 instead, the Martian Manhunter is back to save the day. Well, as much as the day possibly CAN be saved in an event as grim as DC's Dark Nights: METAL.
The return of J'onn J'onzz comes in Issue #5 of the colossal event, as the alien reveals himself to two of his former heroic allies. And while he's only been glimpsed a handful of times since the Rebirth continuity changed DC's history, his friends never forgot about his role in the hero community. In fact, Martian Manhunter may have some explaining to do when the action dies down, having stayed out of the METAL apocalypse until all hope seems lost.
To grasp just how little hope remains in the story of METAL and the many evil Nightmare Batmen working to plunge existence into darkness, fans will need to read it themselves. But where a tie-in comic saw Hawkman's own Rebirth take shape, the return of Martian Manhunter comes without fanfare in the main story itself. On the planet Thanagar Prime, of all places, where Green Lantern and Mister Terrific find themselves the prisoners of a cosmic tyrant who's taken over the planet (with help from Starro).
Until one Thanagarian guard breaks protocol to speak to the prisoners, revealing himself to his old friend Hal Jordan.
Martian Manhunter doesn't get a chance to explain his absence from the mainstream DC Universe since making a brief appearance at the death of the New 52 Superman in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Unfortunately, he can only confirm that he is ALSO investigating the wealth of mysteries reveal over the course of the METAL story to this point. From there it's just (another) decisive victory against Starro and a temporary illusion of success... before, as mentioned above, things go from bad to worse.
That's been the general direction and progress facing the heroes so far, as the evil villain Barbatos seems to have planned his takeover of the DC Multiverse to perfection. And while he may only get a few appearances in Issue #5, having a powerhouse like Martian Manhunter in the fight has got to improve the odds for the good guys.
It's unclear if Martian Manhunter will be playing a major role in METAL or not - and the same goes for DC's larger plan going forward. But whatever the case, J'onn J'onzz is finally back in the current state of DC's Rebirth continuity. And that alone is cause for celebration.
Dark Nights: METAL #5 is available in local comic book shops and online services now.